The Gold Wing, Honda‘s flagship touring motorcycle, was launched in 1974 as a 1975 model. The original GL1000, powered by an opposed Four with shaft final drive, was the second most powerful production motorcycle at the time, runner-up to the venerable Kawasaki Z-1. It had no fairing and no luggage, but it was so smooth, torquey, and reliable that it became popular with touring riders and has evolved over six generations. (Read our 2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT road test review).
Just a few years after the Gold Wing was introduced, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) was founded. The GWRRA’s annual gathering is called the Wing Ding, and the 43rd and final event took place June 28 – July 2, 2022, in Shreveport, Louisiana. At Wing Ding 43, it was announced that GWRRA would shut down as of July 31. The following is a press release issued by American Honda.
Gold Wing Road Riders Association founders Paul Hildebrand and Shirley Stevens-Garcia announced last week during Wing Ding opening ceremonies that the organization will be closing. American Honda is saddened by the news and thanks the GWRRA for its dedication to one of Honda’s most iconic models.
RELATED: Honda Gold Wing Milestone Models 1975-2015
Founded in 1977, the GWRRA grew through the heyday of motorcycle touring to the point that it eventually had approximately 80,000 members in 53 countries, and with over 800 active chapters managed by 4,000 volunteer leaders. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the GWRRA has called itself “the world’s largest single-marque social organization for owners of Honda Gold Wing/Valkyrie motorcycles,” and it adopted the motto “Friends for Fun, Safety and Knowledge.”
A dedicated, family-like group that published its own magazine (Wing World, whose September issue will be the last), the GWRRA worked hard to improve the image of motorcycling and prided itself in being a not-for-profit, nonreligious, non-political organization whose members covered a broad spectrum of backgrounds, but who were unified by a love for owning and riding Honda’s legendary touring model, the Gold Wing.
RELATED: Honda Gold Wing Timeline: 1972-2018
“We would like to thank our members, vendors and advertisers for 45 years of unwavering support,” said Abel Gallardo, COO of GWRRA. “We truly could not have made it this far without all of you. To our rider-education program, we cannot begin to place a number on the lives touched by your efforts. To our leadership-training and motorist-awareness programs, thank you for educating our members, officers and public to keep our riders safe and enjoying the ride.”
The GWRRA will officially close on July 31. In the interim, it will offer prorated refunds on prepaid memberships.
“For nearly five decades, the GWRRA has set the powersports standard for a grassroots organization based on a single model, and Honda will be forever grateful for the enthusiasm the club’s members demonstrated and generated for the Gold Wing,” said Bill Savino, American Honda Senior Manager of Customer Engagement. “While the GWRRA’s closure is undeniably the end of an era, we want to make sure their members and all Gold Wing enthusiasts know that Honda remains committed to the Gold Wing model and these customers for years to come.”
I was a proud GWRRA member during its fledgling years. Always a source to locate custom aftermarket parts & travel ideas. I will miss their presence like I miss my wonderfully engineered 1983 Wing of yesteryear. Honda: Bring back the ’83 version with EFI & simple trim (in root beer).
I have and still ride my 1983 Goldwing Aspencade daily and looking for left saddlebag top trimmed in “root beer”. Can you help me locate a top? FYI I also have a 1977 GL1000 Goldwing that I rode from Springfield, Missouri to (Baha) Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 2008 and back by myself. About 7000 miles with no break downs. Great memories! An I could do it again at 72yrs old/young.
“The original GL1000, powered by an in-line Four …”
It’s horizontally-opposed, not in-line.
Yes, dumb mistake. We had “opposed” in our head but wrote “in-line” for some reason. Maybe we just wanted to see if you guys were paying attention!
The original Wing was powered by an opposed four cylinder engine — two cylinders right and two cylinders left across the frame — and NOT by an in-line four. Jeez, Rider, get it right.
Sorry, Patrick. It was a Freudian slip. We definitely know Gold Wings have always been powered by opposed Fours or Sixes, but sometimes our minds play tricks on us. Thanks for keeping us honest.
In line 4? I thought it was a 4 cylinder horizontal opposed layout?
Yep, horizontal opposed Four (GL1000, GL1100, GL1200) then opposed Six (GL1500, GL1800). Something possessed our keyboard and made it type “in-line,” probably because we spilled coffee on it earlier and it was mad at us. Bad keyboard!
Whoever wrote this does not know as much as they thank in the first sentence they state that the Goldwing had an in line 4 engine well better look again what made it so enjoyable to ride was a flat opposed four known as a boxer motor. Maybe the author should get out of there cubical and go look at a Goldwing
We have brought great shame on the Rider dojo for such a mindless mistake. We will spend the rest of the day carrying buckets of water up a steep flight of old stone stairs to remind us of our foolishness.
I saw that movie, and she became an officer in the Emperor’s guard.
The Goldwing was never powered by an inline 4 cylinder. It started with an opposed 4 and then an opposed 6 starting with the GL1500.
Gold Wing, CBR1000, they’re all the same, right? They have two wheels and go fast, that’s all that matters.
Just kidding. We had our cranium firmly implanted into our posterior, which clouded our judgment. We’re ashamed. We beg your forgiveness.
Geez folks, take it easy on the poor folks at Rider. I am not close to perfect so I will not make ANY negative comments until I am .
Thanks, Ron. But they’re right. That was a pretty egregious mistake. We try to get a second set of eyes on everything before we post it, but sometimes we knock out a post at the last minute and pull the trigger before it gets reviewed by someone else. Live and learn.
If you cannot say something nice about someone do not say anything at all, that’s my motto and I was going to stick with it ha ha
Since everyone else can’t seem to let it go, WHADDYA MEAN Inline 4? I Thought it was 17 separate single cylinder engines attached to various parts of the bike? How DARe you (grata t voice) Rider Magazine?!
Oooops….we all human…. I haven’t been a member long or a couple of years thank you brother and sisters for the fun time the friends I’ve met and God bless everybody sorry to see it go
What’s the real reason for shutting the whole gig down it didn’t really didn’t answer any questions other than after 40 some years we’re just throwing in the towel why I’m a Honda owner that was a Hodaka owner yeah that brings it back the super Rats super combats haha. good times did I date myself whoops
No really why did they quit the whole gig nI think it’s rather stupid when people need an escape an outlet especially in these times to be able to get together and quit fighting and give somebody something to do besides sit at home. like a lot of losers smoke dope and get drunk next day repeat. 😠 riding was always fun. I was more of a dirt guy rip it up and do shredding. Do the trails in the woods scene but I had a Gold Wing of 77 a black one with the gold trim full dress it was a hell of a good bike. That’s when Honda really used to build some damn good stuff it would take the beating up on the other guys brands Hodaka’ & Hondas were always my favorite
It’s just too bad everything that’s cool just going away
Punctuation is your friend.
Perhaps I missed this, but why are they shutting down?
Heard about the demise in a FB post during the wing ding weekend and was shocked to hear of the loss of members from a high of 80k down to 10k….I understand that we’re all getting older and some might be dying off, but how in the hell does a drop like this occur without so much as a peep from the bosses😔😔😔
Well I won’t join the crowd and tell you that there was no inline motors in the goldwings. Oh wait a minute I just did
Why are they shutting down?
Does anybody read previous comments it’s clear the mistake was made not everyone needs to repeat it. Now that being said let’s move on to the real problem here which is the question of WHY it’s going away.
Just read the sad news. My dad & mom were proud Gold Wing driver/ rider .GWRRA was their blood. It afforded them travel and friendships throughout this great land of ours. GWRRA will sadly be missed! The thousands of people it helped and lives saved through their safety programs.Dick& Mary Landis I’m sure are shedding a tear! As dad would ALWAYS say “Ride Safe!”
It’s a real shame that they couldn’t hand it off to another generation of leaders. Amvets had to pick up from Rolling Thunder but now new blood is stepping up for Rolling Thunder.
I have been a member of the GWRRA for a few years. At 55 I purchased my first Gold Wing, which I love. The end of GWRRA is no surprise as the club and associated magazine are very stale. I came from a BMW and the clubs are like apples and oranges. The GWRRA magazine is loaded with ads targeting folks over 75- no joke. I don’t like to complain as I did zero to help the situation. I could have volunteered to add content or organize local rides catering to a younger crowd but I didn’t. It’s actually crazy that at 57 I consider myself on the young side in the club. I really could not relate to almost anything that the club had to offer. I love the Goldwing and I really hope that someone takes over local, national and international coverage for this bike – or make it a HONDA club like BMW does. BTW if anyone hasn’t read the magazine put out by the BMWMOA you really should. The content is very fresh, the photos are wonderful. It is one of the best paper magazines I have had a subscription to in a while. To a create entrepreneurial Honda owner- PLEASE create a club similar to BMWMOA but with our beloved Honda’s as the center of attention.
Why are they closing? Article never tells us why. Declining membership? No interest? No one to take it over? We’re left guessing.
Older generation (if still riding) has trikes. They needed the young bucks to take a interest. Maybe Honda itself is partially to blame. Price is a big factor.
Any one that wants to join Capital city motorcycle club in Sacramento ca happy to have any one that rides
I was a WGRRA member in Ontario Canada for many years. Traveling across the United States and Canada to rallies or just touring on my own.
I’ve had fully dressed and bare wings over a 20 year period.
Now a senior in my mid seventies a big bike isn’t what I want to ride these days. I bought a 1200 Harley Sportster to take on short country rides for the last years of two wheel freedom…….
I had a 1976 Gold Wing with Vetter fairing and luggage, was a great motorcycle
It is with sadness we hear of the demise of GWRRA. I was CD of NY-K for many years. Wonder filled experiences were had by all. But as the saying goes… all good things must come to an end.
I remember I went to my first HONDA HOOTS. I don’t remember what year? It was in Knoxville, TN. I had so much fun. Sadly, it gone too.
It’s a sad day. I own a 1988 GL1500 that rides like a Cadillac. I’m gonna miss this organization and it’s support.
When the 990 forms filed over the last 10 years show big comp payments to the BOD and
fellow members. That doesn’t show the income streams and royalties from endorsements that flowed into the coffers. Paul and Dottie, Shirley Garcia feathered their nest and closed up the shop. Poor leadership in sustaining the organization to carry on. So sad.
STILL HAVE my 1975 1999…windjammer fairing,vetter tail trunk homemade saddle bags,prestolite ignition,cb radio
I know for us, we left because of (red/blue) politics within the chapter itself. Many left for the same reason. In fact the largest GW group/chapter in the nation split in half back in 2016. That chapter had not been a GWRRA chapter for years, but it did have an active membership of over 130 riders. Basically, “the great divider,” cause many to “divide” away. Like myself, and other members too, many of us didn’t want to hear about “the big lie,” and stories about ballots being found, and other comments that support such BS. I believe GWRRA was totaly blindsided by it all. Certainly COVID, and an aging membership, played a large roll in its failure also.
It is a bit of a sadness when a long-running institution closes. I would suspect that aging/declining membership and the rumors that Honda is discontinuing the Wing all played a part in the inability to find someone willing to take over the reigns.
What happens to just pd membership? Magazine?
I had a 77 fully dressed with a Corbin Gentry tour saddle, massive Calafia fairing, saddlebags and tour pack.. I rode that bike for about 16 to 17 years and loved it. Actually got totalled from a rear ender while I was sitting at a stop light. Not even a braking screech from the a$$h01e… I ride a cruiser now, but I still miss that 77… I understand about politics screwing everything up. We had a nice SCRC chapter up here that got ruined by irrational Maga heads. I’m in New England, but it screwed up things here too. I was talking to a 70 sumptin guy on a 2021 wing in a Harbor Freight parking lot, and he brought up gas prices, so I told him “hey,we’re talking bikes and riding here… we can discuss oil or tires for disagreements… no politics though…” he chuckled and we kept on for another 1/2 hour. We picked up a 98 1500 back in 2010, and my lady decided she isn’t interested in riding , so it’s been “up for sale” for the last 2 years. I keep hoping she’ll change her mind, so it doesn’t get advertised much…😁 I haven’t been a GWRRA member since the 77 went, but I’ll still miss knowing it was there…
I haven’t had a GW in quite a few years now, but helped start the chapter here in my hometown. Owned a 1000, 1100 1200 and 1500. All great motorcycles. At 78 years old now I’ve basically stopped riding but will always miss it. I’ve seen a lot of things change the last 64 years of riding and a lot of the changes are not very good. I guess this is a sign of the times. My wife and I are very grateful for the memories but sure hate to see this chapter in motorcycling end. Thanks for those memories GWRRA.
I was a member of GWRRA in the 1990s to mid 2000s. I had 2 Gold Things and the 87 really was a nightmare bike. Anything that broke required pulling the motor. The electrics and the stators were a ticking time bombs. Mine was an Aspencade that was painted a really dark blue that you could only make out in sunlight. A dealer told me that it was a really rare stock color.
I traded the 87 for a 2002 Gold Thing. They produced a bike that could be fixed without
pulling the motor. Then the briefcase full of blues arrived, frame recalls. A dealer in Texas tried to keep my bike for a couple of days for frame inspection. I told him that my dealer already checked it and the police had to be called to inform the dealer of the rights of ownership.
Long story short. My membership lapsed for a couple of years and when I paid dues again, they called me a new member. When you lapse AMA dues, they revert back to your old number. They very smugly told me that I had to pay back dues to get my old number back. I told them that I resign my membership. I traded my Gold Thing for a 2007 Harley and never looked back. I’ve since added a 2014 Indian Chief to the stable. I’ve been to Sturgis 7 times
on the Indian and it’s a far better party that Wing Ding.
Maybe they could bring back the Honda Hoot!
I am sad to hear of the shut down of GWRRA. I started riding motorcycles upon retirement at age 63 with a very clean 89 GL1500 in. Traded up to 2000 GL 1500 and the got a Christmas present from my wife of a brand new GL1800ABS in 2005. I sold it today and am retiring from riding at age 91 1/2. I do and will miss it as I would a family member. It is time when senses and reflexes dim to make the wise decision. My wife of 72 years passed last year and she hated the GW even though she gave me the 1800 as a Christmas present, so she is probably shouting with joy in Heaven today . I do think that Honda deserted the market and the many Honda fans they had in the US by moving all operations to Japan a few years ago. $30,000.00 is a bit steep for a GW today. Good bye to all of the folks I met over the years on a GW and to those that remain riders, may God keep you safe in your travels.
When the GL1800 came out I knew the end was near. They completely over-complicated things. Vowed then I would never own an 1800. And I still have my ’90 with 150k plus on it. Searching now though for a good roadside assistance group. The Plus program was good for entire family and won’t go with aaa for that.
The young rider group is much the same as the young street rocket groups. Can’t really trust the campgrounds any more with the parties and lack of respect.
It was a good ride though…………….
Any Goldwing Riders looking for a Dedicated Motorcycle Roadside Assistance Co. take a look at Motorcycle Towing Services.
My husband and I were Chapter Directors of the R2 Chapter in Michigan for many years. We dropped out after a hostile takeover. LOL. Many great memories. But like all service organizations the few did most of the work. Best part was the Gold Book. Anywhere in the country we rode, (over 180,000 miles logged ), we could call for advise or help from a local GWRRA member. Met so many awesome people over the 30 years we rode. We still ride our 1996 GL1500 around but choose to stay close to home now that we are 70. It was a great life. We miss the travel. No better way to see the USA!
The Gold Wing was not “launched” in 1974. If you mean that is when it was available to the public. It was first shown to American Honda’s dealers at their national convention in Vegas in September of 1974. Honda then launched a “GL1000 Road Show” in February of 1975, where the Honda Sales Reps took a GL1000 to each one of his dealers for a 1-day open house for the public to see and hear the GL1000 for the first time. A hit of that show was the famous “Nickle Trick”…where I would balance a nickle on edge on the valve cover of the bike and bring the revs up to about 5,000 without it falling over.
The very first bikes did not hit the showrooms until about May 1975. And the rest is history.
The GL1000 Introduction
I took special pride in being part of the original “GL1000 Road-Show” in the spring of 1975. The M/C division was looking for a way to launch this revolutionary new model in a new and dramatic way. I developed the concept of the “GL1000 Road-Show”, which I submitted to my Zone Manager, and my plan was adopted by top management. We launched the show in February 1975.
This was the initial introduction of the Gold Wing to the general public, at the dealership level. Each Sales Rep took a full-sized van (with a new GL1000 inside it) on the road and did back-to-back, one-day Open Houses at every one of his dealers. This is where the famous “Nickle-Trick” was first used (balancing a nickle on edge on the valve-cover of a GL1000 and bringing up the RPM to 4,000 or 5,000 without it falling over…illustrating the extreme smoothness of the flat-4 engine). Customers were so amazed by this demonstration of smoothness, they thought I was using a “doctored nickle”…I would dispel their suspicion by asking them for a nickle from their own pocket, and repeating the balancing act. (It did help if the nickle was fairly new, with a good sharp, square edge)
I had 60 dealers in my district at that time, and I did one show a day for 60 days straight. (Fortunately I was single at that time) Several dealers had their highest one-day traffic count ever, during these one-day displays. I recall a very large crowd at one dealership, in the middle of a heavy February snowstorm.
Dealers of that vintage have never forgotten this innovative introduction of that important model. That was a much more innocent time, both in our industry and in our society as a whole; I do not believe it would be possible to create that much customer interest with such a promotion in today’s market. But it was a brilliant move by Honda in that time and place. Such bold, innovative actions were common in the M/C division of that era.
Why did it close down ? No explanation ?
A decline in membership
Decline in membership because of people running it.
Decline in membership because of people running it
Where are our refunds
Refund was short by 30.00 renewed membership 06/07/2022 out of one hundred dollars only received fifty three and change what a rip off for less than two months of membership
The check that they sent me bounced. Trying E-mail to customer service but will not send. Any help out there?
Yes we got screwed
They kept promising my refund – received several e-mails. To date, nothing. So, today I filed a complaint with the Arizon Attorney General’s Office. send them all of the correspondence.
For me, it is all about the principle. Wonder how many more have bounced checks or never got a refund.
I just want to ride my wing and maybe share a journey or two with folks who share in the joy of the “wing”. My travels to the annual gathering was a jumping off point to my adventure. Being recharged among friends new and old filled my spirit of the joy of riding. The stories and good times shared would feed my courage to push beyond my daily mile limit just to see around the next curve. I cannot tell you how many times their stories became my personal quest to see our country on my wing.
Because of GWRRA and all my friends who made an annual pilgrimage to our gatherings, thank you.
So sad wondering why? I have 3 wings and my son just got his first. Remember well when Gwrra came to madison wi was so impressive! Was hoping my son and I could attend a wing ding together but guess not.
Owned 2 Goldwing trikes, sold the last one in 2010. Went on many rides with the Phoenix and Scottsdale groups, great times, great rides. Just purchased another trike and would like to catch up with a similar group in AZ.
It truly is a sad moment for all of us that have participated, in some degree, supporting and promoting the GWRRA. I will always be grateful in knowing what the people and organization have done for me. I met a lot of riders that may not have got the opportunity to ride as much or as far on a motorcycle if it wasn’t for the GWRRA. The safety seminars, ARC, leadership programs, meet and great, SIG programs, the list goes on and on.
I know that the GWRRA may not be with us mush longer, but it will live on in the people that it touched.
Thank you Paul and Shirley
I have a 1977 goldwing gl 1000 with 40,000 miles on it in good shape new tires needs fuel lines replaced battery and should be good to go if interested 918-204-3490 message me in Oklahoma same year road riders association kicked of